For my birthday last year, I received this OXO Good Grips Large Cookie Scoop from my brother and his family (which his wife selected for me, of course).
I love it.
I use it all the time.
I tried it for cookies, but it makes huge cookies, which First Son prefers to make by hand and I prefer not to make (because eating more cookie is not really something I need to do).
It is perfect for muffins. I make a lot of muffins here on the Range, so it gets a lot of use. Every time I pull it out and squeeze batter into the muffin pan, I am happy.
I usually use slightly rounded scoops, which is less than most muffin recipes expect, so a 12-muffin batter will often make 18 for me. I like that because I'm not throwing away as much gnawed muffin when my toddler is done with it, but I also don't have to listen to him complain as I would if I cut a larger muffin in half for him. It's also nice for portion control for bigger people.
The handle for this scoop needs only a little pressure and the batter comes right out.
The muffin pan, full of perfectly shaped batter scoops.
I also love using the muffin scoop when I use my mini-loaf pan (like this one) or small loaves (these, and they are truly fabulous). I use two scoops for a mini-loaf and three for a small one. If I don't mix it together with a knife, they break right into halves or thirds at the table, which my girls think is fun.
Now, so you have something to try out when you buy your own muffin scoop, I'm finally posting my Banana Bread on the Range recipe. I've adapted this recipe from one that was in a Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, but one that is long out of print and they no longer include the original recipe. (I no longer have the original book, either, because the first copy was set on fire and the second one fell apart. I salvaged a few of our favorite pages when I realized the new edition didn't include some of our favorite recipes.) I long ago modified the original so I think it's acceptable for me to print it on the blog.
Kansas Mom's Banana Nut Bread
Makes 27 muffins using a slightly rounded scoop with the OXO Good Grips Large Cookie Scoop, leaving a tiny bit in the bowl for little helpers to taste. I also often make 1 loaf and 18 muffins or 2 loaves and 6 muffins...whatever works for you.
4-6 medium bananas (6 is best), as ripe as you can get them (frozen is fine)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp lemon extract (optional; you could also use some finely shredded lemon peel)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup ground flaxseed
2 tbsp wheat germ (optional)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin and/or loaf pans with cooking spray.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, bananas, sugar, cooking oil, and lemon extract.
3. Add dry ingredients, up through the flours. (I add them in the order listed, right into the mixing bowl.) Mix until almost combined.
4. Add the chopped nuts. Mix just until you don't see any more flour. (Ideally, you'd mix these in by hand, but I'm too dependent on my PowerAid mixer.)
5. Spoon into the prepared pans or use the muffin scoop.
6. Bake loaves for about 45-55 minutes, muffins for 18-24 (depending on your oven, pan sizes and how you've filled them).
This is a very forgiving recipe. The last time I made it, I ran out of nuts, so I substituted shredded coconut for the rest and it turned out great. Early in my marriage, I once made it without salt or baking soda. (I have no idea how that happened.) A sprinkle of salt and 30 seconds in the microwave and it was just fine. More recently, I forgot the sugar until after it was in the loaf pan. I just mixed it in and it was fine.
As written above, this is a good solid recipe you can feel good about feeding to your kids every day at snack-time.